Bromine, Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#35, Br)

You’ve stopped the fire in me.
Oh, the zone you’ve tried to pull,
leaving a stench in your wake.

You wanted to stop my shaking.
You wanted to sedate me.
But I’ve learned better —
        you’re just so unsafe
that no one thinks you’re good.

You’ve been so corrosive to me,
and I know I haven’t seen you around,
but I’ve been trying to tell you:

You have no purpose for me.

The only thing you may be good for
is killing the vermin around me,
but at this point in the game
I’d rather keep things living,
so please, keep your distance.

Your toxicity depresses me,
and when you sneak into my drink
you cloud everything instead.

You think you make things
but trust me, that argument
is not enough for me.

So please, don’t poison me.
Please, don’t burn me.
Just let me get some fresh air again
and get you away from me for good.